There may not be an “official” dessert of summer, but you’d be hard pressed to find a better one than ice cream. Wonderfully sweet, melt-in-your-mouth smooth and never at risk of catching on fire (looking at you, s’mores), it may very well be the perfect warm-weather treat – and there’s no better place to get it than Wisconsin.
With dairy from local farms mixed into every bite, the ice cream you’ll find here is as fresh as it gets – and we think it tastes pretty great, too. Stop by these ice cream shops and creameries for a scoop of summer that’s uniquely Wisconsin.
Head straight to the source for some of Wisconsin’s most creative ice cream flavors (Neon Night Crawler, anyone?) at Kelley Country Creamery. Located on the Kelley family farm, the creamery offers a viewing window where you can watch the ice cream being made…but if you want to see it a few steps earlier in the process, you need only look outside. A deck with old-fashioned rocking chairs looks out on the Kelley cows grazing on green pastures, the very cows who supply fresh milk for the creamery’s treats.
Try one of their signature sundaes, like the Campfire Pit or the Farmer’s Wife, made with white chocolate raspberry ice cream topped with raspberries and chocolate syrup.
Babcock Hall Dairy Store – Madison
As the largest college in the Dairy State, the University of Wisconsin – Madison knows a thing or two about making ice cream. Taste their creations on campus at the Babcock Hall Dairy Store, where students scoop up flavors like fan-favorite Orange Custard Chocolate Chip, creamy orange flavored custard mixed with flakes of chocolate. An observation deck above the dairy plant shows off the mechanics behind how their ice cream is made, as well as production lines for milk bottling and cheese making.
Hanging out at the Memorial Union Terrace? Get your Babcock ice cream fix inside the union at Daily Scoop.
Purple Door Ice Cream – Milwaukee
Local ingredients are the name of the game at Purple Door, a downtown Milwaukee ice cream parlor committed to using ingredients from fellow Brew City businesses to enhance their funky flavors. A rotating menu features scoops like Beer and Pretzel, Blackberry Quark, Trail Mix and Cinnamon Roll, made with products from nearby Lakefront Brewery, Clock Shadow Creamery, Anodyne Coffee Roasting Co. and more.
Can’t pick just one? We know the feeling. Treat yourself to a flight of four regular or mini-size scoops!
A whopping 850 (sassy) cows are the driving force behind Sassy Cow Creamery’s dairy delights – both organic and traditional milks and of course, ice cream! Take a tour during the summer to meet the stars of the farm yourself, or visit with one of the calves just outside the creamery.
Hundreds of old-fashioned milk bottles line the walls inside the creamery store, where you’ll have your pick of 20 unique flavors – favorites like Purple Cow, PB Banana Buster and Pie Overload, made with a tempting combo of Oreos, graham crackers and caramel swirl.
Part ice cream parlor, part soda fountain, all delicious: The Pearl, appropriately found on historic Pearl Street in downtown La Crosse, is a blast from the past in the best possible way. Step inside the charming shop and you’ll find a variety of homemade ice creams – they’re known for their classic vanilla, made in-house and served in an authentic 1930’s atmosphere: old wooden counter, vintage milkshake machines, glass sundae dishes, the works.
Whichever flavor you choose, be sure to get it inside one of the Pearl’s homemade waffle cones – they’re made fresh in the shop, and their sweet smell fills the whole room.
Still have a sweet tooth? Check out these six custard stands in Milwaukee, the frozen custard capital of the world!